The raspberries in the Damsel’s garden are going gangbusters, and she’s in heaven. Her arms are scratched but it’s oh so worth it. Raspberries—yum.
Freezer jam is nice because it preserves more of the natural, fresh flavor of the fruit you’re using. Plus, it’s great that you don’t have to cook it, and when it’s 100 degrees outside, the less heat the better. We’ll do other types later.
The Damsel has made a lot of freezer jam in her life, and sometimes it has not “set up”. . . in other words, it doesn’t get as thick as she’d like. Runny jam can be used on pancakes and such, but it’s annoying to have it not turn out. She’s tried several brands of pectin, which is the thickening agent used in most jams. She’s discovered that the recipes must be followed scrupulously, but sometimes the jam’s runny no matter how perfectly it’s done. Maybe the full moon affects it.
She also cringes at the amount of sugar most recipes call for. . .many even call for more sugar than fruit. Yuck! Her experiments with low sugar recipes have been hit and miss, and then will sometimes spoil in the refrigerator, since the high sugar content is a preservative.
So, when she saw a new Ball brand pectin at the store, she decided to try it, so she can say she’s tried it all. It caught her eye because it uses a lower percentage of sugar, and also doesn’t call for corn syrup like many recipes do. The Damsel doesn’t have anything personal against corn syrup, but white sugar is cheaper and easier to measure, so, yeah.
Pick a mess of raspberries. Or buy them if you must. You’ll need around 6 cups. Wash them gently in a colander. The Damsel apologizes for the freakish look of this stream of water running into her berries, but there you have it.
Pour the pectin into a mixing bowl. Just so you know, these directions are strictly for the Ball type pectin, and won’t work with any other pectins.
Add one and a half cups of plain white wicked sugar. Stir these together until well mixed.
Put the drained berries into another mixing bowl and lightly mash. Raspberries are fragile—you don’t need to heave-ho. In the Damsel’s humble opinion, jam should have chunks of fruit and not be totally smooth. This is her wish.
Measure out four cups (one quart) and add to the bowl of sugar/pectin. Admire the jewel-tone red goodness, and dream of the jam that is to come.
Stir for three minutes. The mixture will become more runny as you stir, and you will think three minutes is a very long time. Persevere, dear students, until the bitter end. Now just let it sit for 30 minutes to thicken.
Sit back in amazement that you have just made freezer jam. Yes. That is all there is to it, except for putting it into something, including your mouth.
You can use freezer containers, or pretty much anything that can be frozen. The Damsel uses pint jars because she has many, many of them. You could use store-bought jam jars, pickle jars, salsa jars, whatever. People say you should be careful about doing that because jars can break in the freezer. The Damsel admits this is possible, but it has never happened to her. Other bad things have happened in her freezer, but not broken jam jars. She’d rather not talk about it any further.
You’ll end up with about 5 cups of jam. (Review lesson: 1 pint=2 cups) The black spot in the half-full jar is not a housefly, so don’t worry. A blackberry jumped in and made itself at home, and the Damsel said well, okay. By the way, you store this in the FREEZER. Except for the currently-being-used jar, which is in the refrigerator. But not for long.
See this post for how to fix runny jam: What if it doesn’t set up?